Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab-American Patriot in the CIA

Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab-American Patriot in the CIA

by Nada Prouty

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Overview

"Nada Prouty served her country loyally, with distinction, and, as universally acknowledged by her colleagues, with great personal courage as a CIA covert officer. This tale of rampant trampling of citizen's rights is a vivid reminder of the responsibility of citizens to be vigilant against unaccountable government overreach if we hope to keep a strong democracy, where the rule of law prevails and where a citizen is presumed innocent until proven guilty."

-Valerie Plame, author of Fair Game

When Nada Prouty came to the United States as a young woman, she fell in love with the democracy and freedom of her new home. Following a childhood in war-torn Lebanon with an abusive father, and facing the prospect of an arranged marriage, she jumped at the chance to forge her own path in America—a path that led to exciting undercover work in the FBI, then the CIA. But all this changed in the wake of 9/11, at the height of anti-Arab fervor, when federal investigators charged Prouty with passing intelligence to Hezbollah. Though the CIA and federal judge eventually exonerated Prouty of all charges, she was dismissed from the agency and stripped of her citizenship. In Uncompromised, Prouty tells her whole story in a bid to restore her name and reputation in the country that she loves. Beyond a thrilling story of espionage and betrayal, this is a sobering commentary on cultural alienation, the power of fear, and what it means to truly love America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780230342002
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/29/2013
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Nada Prouty was an undercover spy for the FBI and CIA for over a decade, working on a host of high-profile terrorism cases, including the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. She was also part of the team that developed the intelligence on the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein. Today, Prouty cares for her two young children, speaks about her experience nationwide, and awaitsthe reinstatement of her citizenship.

Read an Excerpt

Uncompromised

The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA


By Nada Prouty

Palgrave Macmillan

Copyright © 2011 Nada Prouty
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-230-34124-1



CHAPTER 1

"DON'T SHOOT— I'M AN AMERICAN"


Looking down the barrel of the M16 shoved in my face, I did what any patriotic American would do: I proclaimed my allegiance to the USA. "I'M AN AMERICAN; I'M AN AMERICAN!" I screamed. I wanted to believe that the young Marine would be curious enough about my Arabic accent to ask questions before pulling his gun's trigger.

An hour earlier, I had been thanking God for my Arab features. I relied on them to help me move, without raising alarms, through Baghdad's spiderweb of streets in search of contacts. Now I was praying for this Marine to believe what I was telling him. Despite my accent and my Arab garb, I was most assuredly on his side. I was CIA, an agent on the hunt for intelligence about Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia in the fall of 2003. He was a young Marine serving his country. What could go right here? I asked myself.

He had noticed my vehicle, which had stopped at the entrance to the Green Zone some time before. Impatient Iraqi drivers had lined up behind me, beeping their horns and yelling at me to move. One by one they were ushered forward and allowed entrance. Sweat ran down my back and trickled down my face as I sat in my non– air-conditioned car, breathing fumes from the decrepit jalopies that passed slowly around me.

When the line thinned, the Marine looked my way suspiciously. He began walking toward my vehicle, pointing his weapon, trigger finger resting and ready on the frame of the gun. He ordered me to step out of my car immediately. I wanted to follow his directions, but I feared exposing the Colt machine gun nestled under my flowing abaya. That would only escalate the situation. I waited for him to get closer so I could explain to him that I was a government employee returning from a mission outside the Green Zone.

The Marine cautiously approached the unmoving car that, even by my own assessment, appeared to be a prototypical suicide vehicleborne improvised explosive device (SBVIED). I could see a mix of fear and hesitation in his piercing blue eyes. My attempt to alleviate his concern by reaching for my identification badge, tucked deep inside my disguise, only made things worse. He moved his finger to the trigger. My mouth was dry, and swallowing was painful. My fumblings, as if for a detonator, exposed the machine gun hidden under the abaya.

To him, it must have looked like show time. I looked Arab and spoke accented English. I carried a weapon and was inside a suspicious vehicle. He had to make a split-second decision—on which both our lives hinged. Slowly, I raised my hands, palms out, empty. His finger relaxed just enough on the trigger to give me hope. I locked in on those blue American eyes and screamed: "I'm an American; I'm an American!"

"Your ID?"

"Is right here." And, ever so gently, keeping one hand raised, with my free thumb I managed to slide the abaya aside enough to reveal the tag hanging around my neck. He looked carefully at the picture and the data there and moved his finger off the trigger. He'd chosen not to engage me with fire. Had I been in his place, I don't know if I would have done the same.

"Good enough, ma'am. Welcome to the Green Zone." He breathed the words hard.

"Thank you, soldier, for going by the book. You have a safe night, now," I managed.


HOURS BEFORE THIS SHOWDOWN, I had received an urgent phone call.

"Sahar, I need to talk to you now. Now!"

My intelligence contact was triggering an emergency meeting. I hoped that he was not in danger or asking to see me for the wrong reasons. Informants sometimes wished to talk to me about their marital problems when what I really needed was to gather intelligence about possible violent attacks. I could help direct people to safe areas if I caught wind of an impending attack, but I had a hard time calming angry spouses.

"OK, Ali," I answered. "I will meet you at one of our agreed-upon locations—location three to be precise—at 4:00 P.M."

"I'll see you there, Miss Sahar."

"Inshallah," I assured him.

Ali was supposed to add two hours to the time I gave him. I hoped he would remember that detail.

I began to prepare for our appointment. First, I went to my supervisor, Ken, to let him know that I would be conducting a meeting that evening. I told him the pickup location, the timing, and the rally and rescue location in case things got out of hand. Next, I started working on my gear. I tested my GPS system with a current reading of my location and confirmed that the reading was accurate. I also made sure the GPS battery was fully charged.

Then, on my handheld radio—also ready for action—I contacted base.

"This is Assassin calling to let you know that I will be making a move tonight, departing the Green Zone at about 4 P.M. and returning at about 8P.M. The meeting location is Hay Al Sha'b."

"Copy, Assassin," came the answer from base.

I reviewed my map for the possible routes to my pickup location. I mused on how odd it was that I knew my way around Baghdad better than I knew the streets of my neighborhood in Northern Virginia. I tested my cell phone for a signal and battery power; both were fine. I picked up my backpack and made sure I had replenished my supply of water and PowerBars. In the 100-degree heat, the PowerBars had melted to liquid in their plastic pouches. Being pregnant, a fact I had discovered only a few weeks earlier, I had not kept any food down all day, but I wanted to be on the safe side and try to eat later if I could. Also in my backpack was the black abaya, my head scarf, and the rest of my disguise. The abaya helped me blend in and hide my gear.

At the firearms check location, I loaded my 9mm Glock, putting an extra round in the chamber. More rounds mean more fight. I also made sure I had plenty of extra fully loaded magazines. Finally, I grabbed my Colt Commando—a smart and dangerous weapon I had dubbed "Buba." Buba and I had a fine relationship. He was my silent partner who protected me. In return, I kept him clean and out of sight. And, when no one was looking, I spoke to him.

"I hope that I don't have to use you today, Buba, but if I do I know that you will be there for me," I told him.

Almost ready, I went to the bathroom and threw up again. This was a good thing. There was absolutely nothing left in my stomach, so I wasn't worried about throwing up again anytime soon. Still, just in case, I packed a couple of plastic bags. I knew Ali would have additional bags, as the last time we met I had had a continuous spell of vomiting.

Weeks earlier, I had learned that I was pregnant with my daughter Evangelina. The first time I tried to learn the reason behind my symptoms, I was not successful. I had missed my monthly cycle and was pretty sure I was pregnant, so I decided to visit the American military hospital in the Green Zone to confirm my suspicions. I did not know where to go, so I roamed around looking for a doctor. When I located one, he told me that because he was not equipped with a lab able to verify pregnancy with a simple blood test, the best he could do was to give me an ultrasound. The doctor was busy, so I told him I would wait in the waiting room. A couple of soldiers arrived and I started to talk to them. One was waiting for a prescription, while the other wanted the doctor to check on his recovering wound. I told them that they could both see the doctor ahead of me, since my exam was not urgent. In truth, I was very anxious and could not contain my excitement. My thoughts were racing ahead to all the cute baby clothes and shoes and the smell of baby shampoo when I heard the door to the hospital's main entrance burst open. A soldier was rushed through on a gurney, unconscious and bleeding heavily. Thoughts of babies and nurseries fled. I suddenly felt selfish and inconsiderate. How could I take time away from the doctor? My question was trivial in comparison to the life-and-death struggles of our men and women in uniform. I went back to my room and cried. I don't cry easily, so I blamed the war and my wayward hormones.

Now ready to leave the firearms check station, I headed to the carpool and checked out a vehicle to drive to another location inside the Green Zone, where I checked out one of the junkers. I put on my bulletproof vest and then draped my abaya over myself, hiding Buba. Finally, I took a deep breath and said my prayer.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

My conversion to the Catholic faith had begun shortly before my assignment in Baghdad. I had been attending Mass regularly with my husband, Gordon, after we were married in 2001 at our local Catholic church. One busy and stressful day, when I was readying to depart for Baghdad, I visited the church for some sanity and composure. As I sat in the quiet and stared at the crucifix, I felt the presence of a spirit. I felt calm and at peace within myself. I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted the Lord in my life. I wanted it immediately. However, because the Catholic conversion course was a long process that I could not attend at the time, I promised myself that I would complete the course when I returned.

To me, the strongest pillar of faith has always been one's individual relationship with the Lord. I had grown up a Druze in Lebanon. There is no nutshell description of the Druze religion, which is an amalgam of Muslim, Christian, Sufi, and Pentateuch teachings and beliefs—in other words, a sort of Lebanese condition. There is a definite mysticism to it, and the Druze strongly believe in a supreme being. I had never practiced this religion in Lebanon, but its mysteries and otherworldliness intrigued me at times. I suppose I was similarly susceptible to the mysteries of Roman Catholicism. But most importantly, my marriage to Gordon made me want to share his faith, so I had talked with him about converting. Although official conversion would be months away, I considered myself Catholic on the day I sought the sanctuary of the church.

My prayer finished, I covered my hair with a head scarf before exiting the safety of the Green Zone to drive along the ruined streets of Baghdad. Because one never knows who might be hanging around the Green Zone checkpoint, I wanted to make sure that I was not being followed. Driving always reminded me of the status of the many neighborhoods that made up the city. I learned which streets had recently been barricaded and whether the closures were temporary or permanent, noting the changes on my map, and I'd share my findings with my colleagues at the end of the day.

My route to meet Ali took me along streets where buildings had totally disappeared. Open shops sat next to lots piled with rubble. I saw a little girl holding her mother's hand as they walked through the wreckage of someone's once-grand, elaborate home. I could see myself in that little girl. Twenty years earlier, I had walked through eerily similar destruction in Beirut. War is very efficient at creating chaos. Certainly my life—and no doubt the life of the young girl I had passed—had been traumatized by war. As resilient as children can be, adapting to war can take its toll; I had friends who processed the trauma-related stresses into such behaviors as bedwetting and stuttering. I wondered about the impact of the war in Iraq on this little girl, hoping that she had a strong family or some other support structure to help her get through these difficult times.

These trying circumstances illustrate the context in which my fellow CIA operations officers and I served in Baghdad in 2003. Admittedly, my colleagues' European features prevented all but a small number of them from passing as locals. And among those who could pass, none of them had the language and training to operate independently on the city's streets in the way I could. My duties in Baghdad were always very intense, but I welcomed this daily struggle, knowing that I was contributing directly to saving the lives of both American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. As a covert CIA officer, I conducted an average of two to three high-risk meetings a day when I was serving in Baghdad. Moving across the enormous and chaosstrewn landscape of Iraq meant inviting violence and deception from many quarters. We all got very little sleep and could never be sure who might be friend and who might be foe.

CHAPTER 2

WHERE I'M COMING FROM


My parents were Druze, a minority religious faction amounting to approximately 7 percent of the Lebanese population. The Druze religion started as a religious- philosophical movement in Egypt in the tenth century. The Druze consider their faith a blend of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and believe that their spiritual message was inherent in the prophetic voices of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad.

Although they recognize the ethical and spiritual practices of these monotheistic religions as wholesome, the Druze argue that individuals who continue to commit transgressions can still be forgiven by God if they fast and pray. Because of this belief, strongly held by Druze in modern Beirut and in the secluded mountains east of the city, the Druze eliminated all elements of ritual and ceremony, leaving no fixed daily liturgy, no defined holy days, and no pilgrimage obligations. Instead, because the Druze perform their spiritual reckoning directly with God, the certainty of their belief requires no special days of fasting or atonement. The Druze religion is also secretive and closed to converts.

Lebanon has two major religious groups: Christians and Muslims. The Druze, though generally despised by these majority groups, have allied themselves, at various times, with either or both to ensure Druze survival.

The Druze inheritance in me ebbs and flows as the need arises. These elastic abilities are what make me both a "world traveler" (a euphemism, apparently, for "traitor," according to the New York Post) and a good officer. But there are those who don't believe I am who I say I am: a patriotic American who has consistently put her life on the line to gain justice for American citizens and who, while at the CIA, went up against some of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet.

These people have little idea of what goes into being a good CIA officer. The truth is you have to be a little slippery sometimes. You have to play a role, and it helps to be a part of the world your enemy is coming from. I'll tell you this: the Druze are respected in the Middle East. They are not wild-eyed mystics; they are not moles; they are not slipping-in-behind-the-flower-cart bomb bearers. Instead, they work in sensitive offices of several Middle Eastern governments, or they emigrate and become decorated US Marines, or they line up with their Jewish colleagues in the Israeli Defense Forces. Their long history of serving the people who make history—and this often means picking the strongest dog in the fight—is a matter of public record. The Druze are very international; they get around. And I am lucky to have some of this blood flowing in my veins.

Naturally, my detractors declined to consider the complexity of my background, favoring caricature over truth. Too bad—they might have learned, from my life's struggles, a thing or two about the ethnic divisions in the Middle East, about the nature of assimilation and true patriotism, or simply about how to combat terrorism by recognizing the best tools America has for effective intelligence gathering. But they chose to avoid any serious examination of all of this.

My Druze background is not necessarily a bad thing. Being born Druze is a little like being from the projects: because you live that reality, you're aware that you know more than the talking heads. And if that point of origin makes you more versatile than the average Joe, that's good. And you don't lose that identification easily; it's always a part of you. It makes you work hard, makes you prove yourself at every challenge. A Druze in Lebanon is always a bit of an outsider. As a Druze, you might be seen by others as a member of an odd cult or group, but this group has a historical reputation for being good ministers and confidantes and advisors to the power brokers. A loyal Druze makes a good ally.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Uncompromised by Nada Prouty. Copyright © 2011 Nada Prouty. Excerpted by permission of Palgrave Macmillan.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

'Don't shoot - I'm an American'

Where I'm Coming From

Charade

Coming to America

Joining the Fold

Major Case

Late Al Qaeda Nights

September 11th, 2001

Vanishing Act

Over to the Dark Side

Family Affairs

Decision Made

Exonerated

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Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
PicassoTS More than 1 year ago
Uncompromised shows the real life danger of uber-professional, ex-CIA intelligence operative Nada Prouty, spanning household headline cases like the USS Cole and Khobar Towers bombings, to solo missions in the war tearing back streets of Baghdad. This is an action packed reading. The shadow world of intelligence work is brought to life. The extreme life risks taken shake the imagination from meeting potential intelligence assets ¿outside the wire¿ of the Green Zone shielded by a thin, traditional Arab head covering abaya, a concealed Glock 9mm handgun, Colt Commando assault rifle, and driving a junky car. Skilled with fluency in Arabic, knowledge and respect of Arab cultural nuances, sharp wit, and training to save American lives, Prouty¿s value to the intelligence world is widely respected. Uncompromised should be a blockbuster movie. Truth is stranger then fiction. Nada Prouty grew up in war torn Lebanon, escaping civil war and family abuse, by going to college in the US, only to fall in love with America¿s foundation of freedom, equality, justice and fairness. Prouty took a naive short cut to US citizenship, only to learn later she would have easily been granted political asylum from the civil war in Lebanon. This immigrant loved America and sought to serve the country out of her gratitude. Her contributions to America¿s national security began when she joined the FBI. Her work in several major counterterrorism cases are revealed in breathtaking suspense. Prouty¿s skill and success lead to more counterterrorism work for the CIA¿s ¿prevention team.¿ Prouty consistently volunteered for dangerous missions and is widely believed by her peers to have saved many American lives. Prouty came under gunfire on multiple occasions. While pregnant, she wore larger flak jackets, choosing to stay on her mission over going home the USA. That¿s one up on James Bond! Enter the fiction. Federal investigators and attorneys doggedly pursue Prouty until it ended her intelligence work by advancing a fiction she was a Hezbollah mole who infiltrated the FBI and the CIA. A trial-by-media followed with mischaracterizations of Nada Prouty. The information hungry media played in the take down as they competed to report the unconfirmed leaks and insinuations, unwitting (and some witting) accomplices to the fiction that become real. Prouty brings this case back to truth. The prosecution threatned to strip her of her US citizenship (well past the statute of limitations), deport her to Lebanon where Hezbollah would presumably be waiting to torture and kill her, a probable fate because she worked in the FBI and CIA against extreme Hezbollah interests. The expected torture would force her to reveal American vulnerabilities, and compromised US national security. The means justified the end of removing her from service and a false, hallow, victory of stopping a Hezbollah mole was celebrated. Prouty acquiesced to accept the terms of the plea deal crafted by the prosecution. She lost her citizenship but not her love of country. She never compromised America¿s security or her integrity. The death threat is particularly disturbing. The system seems to have been hijacked to attack an American who was different, who was not white, and was not of western European descent. Truth is more disturbing than fiction. If this could happen to a tough, uber-professional intelligence operative, what chances do other Americans have?
agnesmack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a really interesting book that definitely kept the pages turning. The author was simply trying to serve the country that she'd grown to love, but our government sure did make it difficult for her.Overall I found the writing to be fine, but it felt like the end was a little rushed. About 3/4 of the book is a build up to the ridiculousness, and then it's just sort of rushed through. I felt like the reasons she was set up should have been gotten into with a little more depth.I would certainly recommend it to a friend and I'm glad I read it. Also, thanks to the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program for the copy of this book!
cvanhasselt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prouty's book explains in vivid detail what it means to be a woman in a traditional Arab culture. Prouty is of Lebanese Druze heritage is different from the predominant Muslim Arab culture, yet remarkably similar in its discrimination against women. Her own family was a blatantly and recklessly discriminatory toward her, and took advantage of her to gain access to this country. Her story, that of a patriotic immigrant American pursuing the American dream, only to be crushed by the narrow-minded, aggressively competitive world she found herself in working at the FBI, is revealing of what America is really about today: the pursuit of personal self-righteous aggrandizement, no matter what the cost to others. If there is one fault with this book is that there is no justice in the end. Her exoneration, as she calls it, is not a real exoneration but more of a compromised exoneration, where her record isn't cleared, her job isn't restored, her career remains in tatters, but she has the satisfaction of having a judge basically laugh at the charges against her. Her accusers were rewarded for their pursuit of her, and no recompense was paid to her for what amounted to a jealous fit of 9/11 inspired witch-hunting. I hope there will be another chapter to this story, perhaps involving the comeuppance of her accusers, but unfortunately, I no longer have that much faith in American fair-play and decency.
bragan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nada Prouty was born in Lebanon and grew up in a war zone with abusive parents who treated their daughters as little more than annoying failed attempts at creating a son. She immigrated to the US looking for an education and a better life, and eventually joined first the FBI, where her native knowledge of Arabic and Arab culture made her a useful agent on an anti-terrorism squad, and later the CIA, where she performed several dangerous undercover missions in Iraq. Her career was highly successful... until she was accused, on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence, of being a spy for Hezbollah. She was threatened into pleading guilty to charges that led to the loss of her career and the revocation of her US citizenship and was branded a traitor to her county in the media, before being fully exonerated by later investigations.Prouty's writing is okay, but not particularly polished, and at first I wasn't feeling terribly impressed, but by the time I was a chapter or two in I found myself utterly absorbed in her story. Her recollections of what it was like to grow up in Lebanon and her early experiences of the US were fascinating, and she tells some interestingly hair-raising (although carefully vague-on-the-details) stories about her CIA missions. Her description of her career in the FBI did a remarkable job of cutting through my TV-induced conceptions of that agency and giving me a very real feel for what it's like to get up every morning and conduct anti-terrorism investigations as your workaday job -- a job that, like any other, includes satisfying successes, annoying snafus, and the occasional jerky co-worker. And her discussion of her judicial railroading and the impact that it had on her life is maddening and depressing, but sadly all too believable, and, in the end, it says something about what the US has become in this last War on Terror decade that I think we all need to hear.I do have to wonder, perhaps unfairly, if Prouty is exaggerating one or two things just a little. Her family, the way she describes them, is almost too cartoonishly horrible to be believed, a sort of real-life version of Harry Potter's Dursleys. And she depicts herself -- although, pleasantly, without coming across as arrogant -- as a super-patriotic, catch-all-the-bad-guys workaholic in both her FBI and CIA careers, something which may reflect a bit of understandable defensiveness on her part. But even allowing for that possibility, her story is gripping, moving, and very important. I may actually have gotten a little teary-eyed at the end.
lpg3d on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nada Prouty is a Hero.Her brother and father are Assholes.Kenneth Chadwell is an Asshole.Kenneth L. Wainstein is an Asshole.That being said, Uncompromised: The Rise and Fall of an Arab-American Patriot in the CIA by Nada Prouty is an incredible history of a woman able to overcome a very difficult childhood in Lebanon to make herself into an American hero. She has suffered through an immense amount of difficulties, magnified by abuse from an abusive father, to become a solid citizen and a major contributor to the battle against Islamic terrorists. This book will make you mad, and make you appreciate all the fine men and women that work to keep us all safe. Highly recommended reading for anyone interested about terrorists and the people who fight them.
streamsong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story of a modern day Joe McCarthy type smear campaign/witch hunt.Nada Prouty grew up in a Druze Lebanese household. Although her Arabic and religious cultures in general have less regard for females than males, Nada¿s family was far more misogynistic than even those cultures¿ norms. She and her two sisters were verbally and physically abused while her brother, Talid, the only son had the best of everything.Eventually, though, Nada was able to join her sister in America to attend college. She obtained her citizenship with a short lived paper marriage. When her interest turned to the FBI, she fully disclosed this first marriage.She went on to have a stellar career, first in the FBI and then the CIA as she helped bring a variety of Middle Eastern terrorism cases to justice. However, after the attacks on 911, she became the victim of a brother's bad choices and the anti-Arabic witch hunt which gripped the country. She found herself removed from her post in the CIA and investigated as a spy. When no evidence existed against her, insinuating statements were given to the press with hints about 'top secret' matters. She found herself out of job, blackmailed by the agency that she had once loved, her accounts depleted of hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers¿ fees, and a pariah in her adopted country.The story was fascinating.I found the attitudes about Arab Americans and the ways the US government and government officials can intimidate citizens very disturbing. Recommended book.
Gloria2011Books on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prouty tells her story in a firm, vivid voice. I could actually hear this voice as I read, and she doesn't whisper. She clearly lays out the reasons for the choices she made at each turning point in her personal history, including the youthful green-card marriage used to coerce her guilty plea in the case that destroyed her career as a covert CIA operative and revoked her American citizenship. Since she has since been vindicated in the court of public opinion and is on track to regain her citizenship the book works less as a call to rescue an unjustly persecuted individual than as a cautionary tale about the vulnerability of hyphenated Americans to attacks prompted by racist and sexist opportunism.
acornell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Uncompromised: The Rise and Fall and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA is Nada Prouty's very personal story of her young life in war-torn Lebanon and her immigration to the US to begin a new life for herself. The rise of her life as a CIA agent is the first 225 pages of the book and the fall is the last 50. The redemption takes place only on the last ten or twenty pages. As of press time she is still waiting to have her US citizenship returned.One can't help but love Nada and cheer for her as she begins to make her way out of her despicable home life and also find her footing and career in a very male industry. Nada's story will be fascinating to many as she writes of catching terrorists in foreign lands, interviewing suspects, and being on the forefront of most major investigations in the middle east over the past 10 years. But the ugly underbelly to her interesting life is the fact that simply because she is a nationalized American citizen of Arab descent she becomes a suspect in this post 9-11 world. She was stripped of her citizenship, forced to deplete her savings on lawyers to defend herself, and forced to plead guilty to a crime she committed (and she did commit a crime) in which the statute of limitations had run out, and she fully confessed when she was first hired by the FBI. Nada is not innocent but she certainly did not deserve the treatment she got from the government and the country she sought to protect.I loved this book and recommend it to you if you are interested in the war on terror and one woman's unique story of her love for America and how it was used against her. At times it felt like she was working too hard to convince me she was innocent, but then again, she has a lot riding on her ability to do just that.
Carolee888 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Uncompromised' opens with a M16 being shoved into Nada Prouty¿s face while she was on a secret mission for the CIA in Bagdad. How did she get there? She started out as one of the verbally abused and beaten daughter of a Lebanese family. She was raised as a Druze, a religion that combines Christianity, Judaism and Muslim beliefs. Not only were she and her sisters maltreated by her parents, she was in a religious minority that did not get much respect. How did a brave young woman emerge from that background? Culture and her father's financial benefit demanded that she be married off to another Druze with higher financial assets. Also Lebanon was undergoing political upheaval and it wasn't safe to be a Druze in her neighborhood anymore. Nada Prouty tells her life story with drama and poignant details from the time that she was a girl trying to survive her father and her brother's beatings, to her trip to Detroit to meet up with her older sister and then get an education as a ticket out of her heavily prescribed life. She has a very strong will to survive, a keen intellectual mind, athletic body and demonstrated her cleverness at a very young age. She had to be in order to escape the beatings as much as possible. This is the story of her journey from girlhood to CIA agent and her problem that put her career and citizenship into jeopardy. It is also the story of her role in many high profile international investigations. I enjoyed reading about her life journey and learning more about our investigative institutions. It kept my interest throughout the book. I recommend this book to all who are interested in the Middle East, the FBI and CIA.
LivelyLady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prouty has uncovered her life in this memoir. It begins and gives reference to the mid-eastern's attitude toward women as second class citizens. Her father's treatment of Prouty and her sisters as contrasted with her one brother is criminal. Actually, her dysfunctional father should be locked up. But her childhood is just a small, but impressionable part of her story.She comes to this country for college, decides to stay here, and marrys in order to do that. This is a mutual marriage of convenience. She laters divorces, which is mutually agreeable. Her career takes her to the FBI and then the CIA.I enjoyed her comparison of the two government agencies, and assuming what she says is true, I am shocked by the actions and the lack of professionalism of the FBI. Terrible to think that our money is going to that agency.She gives a good account of the cases she is involved in in the post 9/11 era as an Arab speaking agent for both agencies.It concludes with government charges against her of which I will not give away. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the workings of the government, with the culture of mid-east women, and with memoirs.
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